caseyholdahl

Jun 05

Trail Blazers Go Big In DraftExpress Mock Draft 2.0

By caseyholdahl

Johnathon Givony of DraftExpress.com has released his 2013 Mock Draft 2.0 this morning, and he has the Trail Blazers selecting a big man with the No. 10 pick ...
Steven Adams (C, 19, 7-0, 255, Pittsburgh, freshman)

... Portland ranked as the fifth-worst defensive team in the NBA last year according to Hoopdata. Adams could bring some of the size, toughness and athleticism the team has lacked inside the paint in recent years, even if he’s likely a couple of years away from developing into a consistent contributor.
Adams averaged 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 23 minutes per game during his first and only season at Pitt. He shot 57 percent from the field.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Trail Blazers, should they use the No. 10 pick, are going to take the best player available. If Neil Olshey and his staff come to the conclusion that Steven Adams is the best player on their board when they make their pick, I'm sure he'll be the player they select. Having said that, there seems to be a whole lot of overlap between Adams and Meyers Leonard, the young, athletic big in need of development who the Trail Blazers selected with the No. 11 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Leonard stayed at Illinois a year longer than Adams stayed at Pitt, though Leonard was the same age (20) as Adams when he was drafted. Leonard's averages his last season at Illinois of 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks are very similar to Adams', with both players shooting nearly identical percentages from the field. Both players are listed as 7-footers who weigh in the 245-250 lbs., with DraftExpress describing Adams as having a "tremendous frame with room to add more muscle" while being "very mobile, (and) capable of playing above the rim." Among this weaknesses, according to DraftExpress, are a limited offensive game, finishing abilities and fundamentals on defense. And there's word that he's improved his shooting touch. All of this is very similar to what DraftExpress said about Leonard during the run up to the 2012 Draft.

So the question is, if Adams is the best player on the board at No. 10, is there enough playing time on this team to develop two young bigs with similar skills and physical attributes? I guess that's one of these bridges you cross when you come to it.

9 Comments

  1. you don't pass on a center prospect just because you selected a center last year.

    by Brett Fish on 6/5/2013 10:37 AM
  2. Brett: That's true, but that's not the question.

    by caseyholdahl on 6/5/2013 10:40 AM
  3. I like Alex Len the best if he drops to #10 of course. I agree with Brett.. Casey!
    "The proof is in the pudding" Len is a much better protector of the rim on defense and isn't that just what we are looking for? He's a better rebounder too!
    Now, granted Leonard is better on the offensive end and neither guy can play 48 mins. all season so we need a backup if Joel gets traded! PS: pick Len at ten! Hey... that rhymes! if he drops to 10 and pick Erik Green or Larkin at 39 more picks later.

    by Eugene Bunds on 6/5/2013 2:11 PM
  4. From the little ive seen of Adams, he seems to be quite a bit more ferocious than Leonard. Might bode well in practice.

    by commontongue on 6/5/2013 1:40 PM
  5. There isn't much overlap between Leonard and Adams - one is a polished offensive project who struggled mightily defending and rebounding, the other is a guy with great defensive instincts who will struggle offensively.

    Adams is cut more from the Drummond mold - they have very similar physical and athletic profiles and produced at a similar rate as college freshmen.

    The big challenge for Adams will be adjusting to the level of competition in the NBA (true for anyone but particularly for a guy with one year of college experience who previously played in NZ).

    by MadBlaze on 6/5/2013 1:53 PM
  6. MadBlaze: "Adams is cut more from the Drummond mold - they have very similar physical and athletic profiles and produced at a similar rate as college freshmen"

    Leonard's are almost exactly the same at the same age as Adams (Adams was a 20 year old freshman, Leonard a 20 year old soph).

    I'll admit that I don't know a ton about Adams, but I'm guessing not many people watched a lot of Pitt games this year either.

    by caseyholdahl on 6/5/2013 1:59 PM
  7. I only feel qualified to speak on Adams because I'm a Kiwi and watched a ton of his games as a result (they showed a lot of his games on ESPN down here).

    Not sure if you're talking about Leonard's stature/athleticism or production, but in any case Adams was a 19 year old freshman (will be 19 til after the draft). Physically all three were relatively similar (with Drummond's weight and Meyers lesser length standing out):

    Adams: 7'0", 255lbs, 7'5" wingspan, 9'2" reach, 33" vert, 12 agility, 3.4 sprint
    Drummond: 7'0", 280lbs, 7'6" wingspan, 9'2" reach, 33" vert, 11 agility, 3.4 sprint
    Leonard: 7'1", 250lbs, 7'3" wingspan, 9'0" reach, 33" vert, 11 agility, 3.4 sprint

    As for comparing Adams with Drummond rather than Leonard statistically, I think the numbers bear that out (per 40 minutes pace adjusted).

    Adams: 13 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 TOs, 3 PFs, 57/44 shooting, 23 PER as a 19 year old freshman
    Drummond: 14 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 TOs, 3 PFs, 54/30 shooting, 22 PER as an 18 year old freshman
    Leonard: 17 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 TOs, 4 PFs, 58/73 shooting, 24 PER as a 20 year old sophmore

    I think its pretty fair to say Leonard was the more polished offensive prospect but both Drummond and Adams project better defensively. In Adams case, I like how he seeks out and absorbs contact (when setting picks, boxing out and in the post) and the fact that his lack of experience means he has few ingrained bad habits.

    He'd be a project too, like Meyers, but one I think could pay more immediate dividends, like Drummond did for Detroit.

    by MadBlaze on 6/5/2013 4:40 PM
  8. I'm not getting a good vibe on this Adams guy (course, this is what I said about Drummond &... ;) From what I saw of Adams (mostly just little clips), I'm not real impressed; I've got a bad feeling he'll just become a faster moving Aaron Gray :(

    by Simpson on 6/5/2013 6:42 PM
  9. And, what about Kelly Olynyk? I would love to see Leonard and Olynyk compete for the starting job! Come on, I say the Blazers should go Canadian in this draft.

    by Collin Macfergus on 6/6/2013 6:55 PM
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